Phillies Option Mickey Moniak to AAA-Lehigh Valley; Select Contract of INF Yairo Muñoz
According to a tweet, the Phillies have optioned outfielder Mickey Moniak to AAA-Lehigh Valley and selected the contact of utility infielder Yairo Muñoz. In a corresponding roster move, second basemen Jean Segura was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list, in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Muñoz.
Yairo Muñoz, 28, has seen limited time in the major leagues after debuting for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018, appearing in 196 games over two seasons. In the two subsequent years, Muñoz was a part of the Boston Red Sox organization, but saw action in only 17 games, despite slashing a combined .286/.286/.429.
In 2021, Muñoz was Boston’s MVP in AAA-Worchester, batting an impressive .317 in 85 games, while casually breaking the 80-year-old organizational hitting streak record, when he reached safely in 35 straight games last August. Defensive versatility will the key for the Dominican former top ten prosect in the Cardinals organization. Muñoz has already manned three infield spots in Lehigh Valley during 2022, while showing the ability to also stick at the outfield corner positions.
According to multiple scouting reports, Muñoz is a free swinger, who will eschew walk rates in search of hard contact. More importantly, he provides a right handed alternative in the dugout for interim Phillies manager Rob Thomson, who is currently struggling to find favorable matchups for left handed hitters Bryson Stott and Didi Gregorius.
This must be a disappointing day for Mickey Moniak, who had earned a roster spot and was set to be the Phillies Opening Day center fielder, before breaking his hand during the last contest of Spring Training. Since being called up from AA-Reading following a fruitful rehab assignment, Moniak has struggled, slashing .150/.250/.160 in only 29 plate appearances.
With the recent emergence of Matt Vierling and unable to send Odubel Herrera to the minors without the risk of losing him to the waiver system, Moniak was the odd-man out for a team that needs desperately needs positional flexibility after losing Jean Segura to a broken finger last month.
Over the past week, Vierling has demonstrated that he can hold up to the demands of playing everyday at multiple positions in the infield and outfield. Vierling has looked solid over a few contests at second base and even held his own at the hot corner against the Marlins in Monday night’s come from behind victory in which he scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning.
Hopefully, Moniak handles the demotion with grace and is able to find his form, while getting consistent reps in Lehigh Valley, something that was not happening in South Philadelphia. For everyone on the internet feeling empowered to say ‘I told you so’ regarding Moniak, you are all idiots.
As recently as May 29th, Bryson Stott was hitting .114 and appeared on the verge of being sent back down to the minors. During the month of June, Stott is slashing .300/.364/.625 with 4 HR and 11 RBI while being one of the most consistent performers during the Phillies streak of wining 10 out of 11 games.
The point is that being a rookie in the major leagues is really hard and even more difficult when you are not getting everyday at bats. It’s why winning ball clubs rarely have young players as their first hitters off the bench, it’s a difficult task for even a veteran to pull off. Mickey Moniak will be back and I would be bet will have more than one impact moment for the 2022 Phillies down the playoff stretch.
Yairo Muñoz will get the start Tuesday night at second base, as the Phillies look to secure a series victory over the division rival Miami Marlins.
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Mandatory Photo Credit: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs